Oct 7/10 - Pt 1: Municipal Pimping

An Ontario court has thrown out three Criminal Code provisions relating to prostitution. One Conservative MP says this makes the province a pimp. And the feds and the province aren't the only governments in the hot seat. City Councillors across the country are being accused of pimping because they collect money in licensing fees from body-rub and escort businesses.


It's Thursday, October 7th ... opening day of the new NHL season.

Currently, Torontonians know it better as "175 days until baseball season."

This is The Current.

Municipal Pimping

We started this segment with a clip from Conservative MP Joy Smith speaking on The Current last week. She was responding to an Ontario court ruling that struck down three key parts of Canada's prostitution laws. The Federal Government has already said it will challenge the ruling. But if it is upheld, it will effectively decriminalize activities related to the sex trade in Ontario and open the door for decriminalization across the country.

Joy Smith said that would make the province of Ontario a pimp. But according to John Lowman, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University, many Canadian municipalities already are. What John Lowman means is that municipalities charge licensing fees for all sorts of things including what are known as body rub parlours. And just so that we all know what we're talking about, we aired a reading from an ad for one of them.

* We should warn you, it contains some suggestive language *

And now that we all know what a body rub parlour is, let's take a look at what one municipality -- in this case, the City of Toronto -- charges for the business licences it issues. We aired a clip with some price examples.

Those prices vary depending on the city. And not all of them license body rub parlours. But across the country, the cities that do tend to charge a lot more for body rub parlour licences than they do for barber shop licences. And if last week's Ontario court ruling stands, municipalities could be issuing licenses for a lot more than body rub parlours. The responsibility for regulating and licensing the sex trade industry could fall to them.

So this morning, we are asking if it's okay for municipalities to be making money from the sex-trade industry. Vicki Beard is a City Councillor in Guelph, Ontario. And Gloria McCluskey is a City Councillor in Halifax.

Articles: Judge decriminalizes prostitution in Ontario, but Ottawa mulls appeal / Prostitutes were murdered because of our laws / Rhiannon Coppin answers the timely red-light question

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